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Sunday, June 24, 2012

The accents have it

I have noticed that the majority of shows dealing with advise and overhauls (for example Tabitha’s Salon Takeover, Super Nanny and Kitchen Nightmares) are all hosted by people with accents other than American. In my opinion, we Americans are very tolerant of criticisms if these words are flavored with an accent. Could it be that we are mesmerized by the foreign twist of phrases? That these hard truths are easier to take in when someone overseas is making the observations? Or is it that their foreign accents are so fascinating that we really don’t hear what they are saying? We love the fact that they are rolling their R’s, all the while ignoring that the words they are hurling at us are” r-r-raging ignor-r-r-amous??”
I am basing this opinion on my own experience. Here in Idaho, I completely blend in with my California accent. However, when I was 14 and visited my family in Scotland, I was a rock star! When I was out shopping with my cousins, the minute I opened my mouth, everyone in the store stopped what they were doing and stared at me. True story—children followed me around the store as I chatted with my cousins. When I stopped short to look at a price tag on a blouse, they practically ran into me.
At the time, I was just having normal conversations. However, I believe if I was doling out advice, I would have had a captive audience. If I had turned around and said to these children some endearing term like “Hey, you rug rats, you better take care of your teeth or you’ll be sorry! Oh, by the way, surf’s up!” they would have scampered off to immediately brush their teeth. No matter that their mothers had been nagging them all their lives, the fact that the American girl told them to made all the difference.  
Then again, they may have just stared transfixed with pie pan eyes at me, waiting for my next friendly insult.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A fly on the morning windshield

A few days ago I was slowly pulling out of my garage on my way to work. My mind was filled with plans for the day—the best route to drive to work, what would be waiting for me when I got to the office and so forth. The morning sun glistened on the windshield. As it did, I happened to notice a small fly sitting on the windshield.  I figured when I gained speed, the fly would naturally take off on its own path. However, this little insect didn’t fly away as expected. Instead, its delicate feet clung to the sheer glass steadfastly.
Okay, I thought, I’m only going 25 miles an hour through the subdivision. But soon, I’ll get on the main road and the speed will grow to 35 miles an hour then to 50. By then my little traveller won’t be able to fight the wind shear anymore and buzz away.
I was surprised again—no matter how much the car built up speed, the little bug continued to hold on. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw its fine threadlike legs quiver ever so slightly, but maintain its balance. Even as the car travelled at 50 miles an hour, the fly shifted its stance. It was as if it was enjoying the high speed ride, its head thrust forward, iridescent wings gently vibrating in the wind.
 After 4 miles, I had applied the brakes at the stop light. I looked over to the corner of the windshield and saw the tiny hitchhiker had flown away.  Its destination must have been reached.
 I had always heard that a fly’s lifespan is one day. This little traveller may have known its time was short and figured it could easily hitch a ride for miles.  It could enjoy the scenery as well as not waste its finite energy. Or it knew its hours were numbered and wanted to experience its own version of a roller coaster.  
 It has become a reminder to me to live in the moment, find joy in the little things, like watching a fly on the morning windshield.